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Old 12-07-2009, 03:38 PM   #1
stallone
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nook Reviews

I saw a thread about the Cnet review, but Engadget and Gizmodo put up their reviews this morning as well. The Gizmodo review pointed out that the Barnes & Noble store has been more expensive than Amazon, but Barnes & Noble are now cutting their prices to match or at least compete with Amazon. See the quote below if you don't want to read the whole review.

Engadget: nook review
Gizmodo: nook review

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gizmodo
Speaking of Kindle downloads, some noise has been made about Kindle books being cheaper than B&N ebooks, but Barnes & Noble says that they are in the process of correcting their prices, basically evening them all out so that they're no higher than Amazon's. In my own experience, I found David Foster Wallace's Infinite Jest for $10 and George RR Martin's A Game of Thrones for just $7. I was pretty pleased, though I was a tad annoyed that sales tax wasn't included in the base price. Be warned there.
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Old 12-08-2009, 12:44 AM   #2
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One thing that hasn't been pointed out much is even when B&N has the same listed price as Amazon, they don't count sales tax (which they charge). So B&N will probably always be more expensive (for now).
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Old 12-08-2009, 03:22 AM   #3
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One thing that hasn't been pointed out much is even when B&N has the same listed price as Amazon, they don't count sales tax (which they charge). So B&N will probably always be more expensive (for now).
But (in the USA) if you don't pay sales tax, then you have to pay the equivalent in "use tax" in your own state. Not to do so is tax evasion. Should we really be considering the effect of tax evasion when it comes to comparing eBook prices?
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Old 12-08-2009, 05:52 AM   #4
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Use tax? Never heard of it and most likely neither have the majority of consumers. I wouldn't be surprised if some states have something like that on the books but they'd have to prove tax evasion, which would be hard. A law no one is aware of is hard to enforce. There are a lot of tax laws no one cares about or knows about. It would be like claiming what you got paid for babysitting on your income taxes. Who does that?

In other news, I finally saw the nook at a B&N today. Apparently the stores in Arizona just got them today. I don't know if other places already had them but this was my first chance to play with one. I still prefer the Kindle for now. In addition to having a better ebook store, I prefer the physical key navigation and qwerty. The nook's lcd screen wasn't as responsive or intuitive as I had thought. I got the hang of it the more I played with it and, in their defense, I had and easier tine typing quickly and accurately on it than I did on an iPhone or my Droid's software keyboard. However, at one point I guess the screen couldn't handle the fast typing and it faded to white. I had to reboot the device to get the navigation screen back. I had my Kindle with me and people were asking me about it and coming up to look at it, even the B&N employees. I was explaining the advantages and disadvantages of each. I like that you can change the font on the nook (it comes with three but I don't know if you can add more later) and that it's based on Android, an open source OS. I also like the idea of lending, though the 14 day limit is pretty annoying, something one guy who had already ordered the nook didn't like very much. He was thinking about lending books to his family but didn't think his daughters would get a book read in 14 days. Especially if it were particularly long. He was very interested in the fact that Amazon allows six Kindles on one account access the same library. A B&N employee said that wasn't allowed with the nook. Isn't the ereader format locked with a credit card number, though? Could he just unlock the books on another device? At any rate, I strip the DRM off all my ebooks, so I could "loan" the book out if I wanted to. Most people only read a book once, anyway, something people can already do for free at the library. Or they could go into a bookstore and just read there, haha. Publishers are far too worried about the lending feature. They need to ease up on the restrictions. So the nook is neat but not something I'm really interested in buying for myself. I also like being able to browse news sites and Wikipedia on my Kindle. Sadly, that's another thing B&N doesn't want you doing.
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Old 12-08-2009, 06:00 AM   #5
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Also, I like the way the Kindle searches to the nook. The nook does linear searching through a book, one word at a time. I like that the Kindle pulls up all the results at once.
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Old 12-08-2009, 06:43 AM   #6
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Use tax? Never heard of it and most likely neither have the majority of consumers.
You are kidding?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Use_tax
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Old 12-08-2009, 07:06 AM   #7
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I think it is because the way it was originally presented in the conversation was as a tax that you pay additionally and seperately. like at the end of the year saying; "ok, and here's some more money for "use tax" for stuff that I didn't receive or maintain receipts for". we're accustomed to sales taxes, certainly. it just "felt" like a very different sort of tax
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Old 12-08-2009, 09:40 AM   #8
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Sales tax is the byproduct of having brick-and-mortar stores in most states. I suppose you folks had to pay tax when ordering a nook too, I'd imagine. Just be glad you don't live in the EU, where they get charged nearly $2 for VAT on an ebook. That is one of the most ridiculous fees I've heard of.

George RR Martin's A Game of Thrones was mentioned and I thought I'd recommend this ebook. He is an excellent writer and that is a great series. $6.39 is the actual price and that's a hell of a bargain considering it's about 1000 pages as a paperback.

On an slightly unrelated topic, is anyone else having trouble getting B&N's website to load? I pulled up Amazon's page to check some ebook prices and it loads in about 5 seconds. I opened up the B&N site and it's still loading and it's been like 2 minutes.
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Old 12-08-2009, 12:33 PM   #9
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Sales tax is the byproduct of having brick-and-mortar stores in most states. I suppose you folks had to pay tax when ordering a nook too, I'd imagine. Just be glad you don't live in the EU, where they get charged nearly $2 for VAT on an ebook. That is one of the most ridiculous fees I've heard of.
Ridiculous? In what way is VAT "ridiculous"? It is a tax on goods and services, and eBooks are taxed like any other product. The rate of VAT varies from about 15% to 25% across the EU, depending where you live.
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Old 12-08-2009, 12:39 PM   #10
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A nook review from a long-time Kindler
--------------------
Well I went to my local B&N today to get an up-close and personal with the new nook. They had two demo models and I was also lucky enough to get about 30 minutes with the demo guy and the nooks. I immediately told him that I wanted to compare it side-by-side with my Kindle 2 and he had no problem with that. I am sure that many will think that because I am a ‘Kindler’, that I’m being too harsh and critical, but I can only compare the experience when using the nook to my current Kindle experience and I hope that some of my criticism of the device can and will be addressed by software updates. I’d like to see the nook as real competition for the Kindle – so far, its announcement alone seems to have forced Amazon to address some of the needed improvements in the Kindle–that’s a good thing.
I’ll try to address only things that make up any major differences in using the devices. All things being equal, there is access to most of the same books with Amazon edging out ahead on pricing, but with nook offering some library books, nooks lending feature comparable to the Kindle text-to-speech feature as well as Amazon’s wireless but pay-per-item email feature vs. nook’s in-store sample readability and wifi offerings. Users’ mileage and options will vary on the usefulness of any of those features.
I would have had the nook as the real winner in the competition because of the LCD screen but, well you can read on to see why not…
My first negative was that one of the in-store display units required two resets and we still couldn’t get it to work, and had to move to the second. That doesn’t seem to bode well for users getting shipped right now, most reviewers admit that a software update is needed and I have heard other reports of demo units not working as well. Hopefully, these bad units were from initial stock known to have a few issues so were sent to stores rather than customers.

(Update: I forgot to mention two things on the nook that are a big plus. Their book navigation notes both a book ‘location’ and a PAGE NUMBER! This is uber-awesome for book clubs, students and workplace use. Even though I got a few silent blinks when I asked whether the page numbers were for the hard or paper-back versions, any reference to actual page numbers is nice. The second thing is that B&N sprang for an upgraded .PDF model than the Kindle. Per the B&N employee, the .PDF is text searchable. I’d like confirmation of that.)

In-book
The screen contrast seems a bit better than on the Kindle 2. The gray background doesn’t seem as gray so that makes the text seem clearer. There are also options to change the font that are not available on the Kindle without a hack and users can add their own screensavers which again are not available on the Kindle.
IMO, B&N did themselves a bit of disservice when they designed the navigation in terms of an eReader. You have to go through too many touches of the screen to get to a book, navigate thru books, get definitions and other things. Keep in mind that I am coming from a Kindle interface where I can open any one of the 10 books on my home page with one click, use my thumb to highlight as well as get any definitions. I imagine that traversing through the menus and options may not be as distracting when shopping as a user expects more interaction in that scenario. But up front, there are too many screens with too many options just to open one of the books in your list.
Opening and going through a book side by side with the Kindle, the screen refresh of the nook is markedly slower in the page refresh–markedly. I did not see any of the LCD lag mentioned in other reviews, but the eInk refresh definitely needs some work. Every time a book is opened, it looks like the nook updates the ‘flow’, and turning a page was also slow. I estimate about twice as long on the page refresh and 3 to 4 times as long to open a book and sync the main display to the LCD .
The dictionary and notes and highlight features of the nook also require interaction with the touch screen. To illustrate the different, in the same time it took the B&N guy to open a book and go to the 1st page, I had a book open, had gone to the next page and gotten a definition. I used one hand, he had to use two.

In short, as far as navigation and menus, the nook really needs the assistance of a usability expert to trim down the menu selections and options to something WAY more workable.

Shopping
I liked the shopping experience of the nook better than the Kindle store experience as pricing showed up in the book list and the screens shown seemed really clean as far a the options for browsing. Being able to browse books on a device doesn’t sound like much, but it added to something that I was missing with my Kindle–that in-store feel. I really like a good bookstore.
Also having the price right up front within the list was a nice feature. I got an in-store advertisement in a box on the screen right in the middle of browsing books that I would find distracting if were to repeat, but maybe they pick stuff based upon what you’re browsing. I don’t know as that box only showed up once. They need to add a feature that shows you customized recommendations though. I was told that the ‘Recommended’ book list would not be customized to either my browsing or past purchase history. I find that hard to believe, but since the device was not registered to me, I could not verify that.
I almost had a cow when one of the books available on the nook was Stephen King’s Under the Dome, but I was later told that it was a sample. It was a big sample, though as I saw a Chapter 8 on the list. Most Kindle samples are only the 1st two chapters. I didn’t think to ask if that was because I was inside the store, but for nookites, I hope not. A big sample would be great because I have purchased Kindle books based upon the 1st two chapters only to regret it because it was all downhill from there.

Overall
I found the nook to be noticeably heavier in my hand. Since I didn’t have hours of reading time, I’m not sure if that would be any factor to the reading experience, but we’ll see how that shakes out with daily use.
I really did not get any value from the addition of the LCD screen. There were just too many menus for what is in essence a single purposed device. The nook is for reading books. Period, end of sentence and for me, the experience was not enhanced in any way by the LCD it and in fact, was a distraction at best. Perhaps if B&N opens that area up to development, it may really turn into something, but for now it gets a shrug.

I was really surprised that there is no content management. The demo unit only had 10 books on it, but in contrast, I have 108 items on my Kindle. One of my first questions was how to navigate thru the nook if I had a similar number of items and was told to search, but that wasn’t what I was looking for. If I was searching, I would probably be looking for more of what I call a ‘browse’ search, not a I’m looking for a single specific item search. I would probably be looking for a choice of various genres, authors or perhaps a series. B&N missed what to me is a big Kindle complaint by not jumping on the ability to organize your books with more options than the Kindle offers.
I don’t think this is the ‘Kindle-killer’ that B&N was looking for, but even though I will remain a dedicated Kindler for now, the nook is definitely a viable option.
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Old 12-08-2009, 12:46 PM   #11
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But (in the USA) if you don't pay sales tax, then you have to pay the equivalent in "use tax" in your own state. Not to do so is tax evasion. Should we really be considering the effect of tax evasion when it comes to comparing eBook prices?
Internet sales are not taxed unless the seller has a brick and mortar store in your particular state.
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Old 12-08-2009, 12:54 PM   #12
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Use Tax primarily relates to business/corporations.

The average consumer does have to claim tax not paid, on an internet purchase, on their individual tax return.
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Old 12-08-2009, 12:59 PM   #13
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It was a big sample, though as I saw a Chapter 8 on the list. Most Kindle samples are only the 1st two chapters. I didn’t think to ask if that was because I was inside the store, but for nookites, I hope not. A big sample would be great because I have purchased Kindle books based upon the 1st two chapters only to regret it because it was all downhill from there.
I was under the impression that, while in a store, one could browse books cover-to-cover via the store's wi-fi. That may be what you were looking at.
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Old 12-08-2009, 01:02 PM   #14
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I was under the impression that, while in a store, one could browse books cover-to-cover via the store's wi-fi. That may be what you were looking at.
I thought so at first, but was told that it was only a sample, not the entire book. That book hasn't been released in ebook format yet. Since that is the case, pretty neat that nookies would be able to read part of it.
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Old 12-08-2009, 01:03 PM   #15
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Thanks for the review jxh11215! If you haven't already, I think you should post this as a separate thread so people can find it easily.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jxh11215 View Post
(Update: I forgot to mention two things on the nook that are a big plus. Their book navigation notes both a book ‘location’ and a PAGE NUMBER! This is uber-awesome for book clubs, students and workplace use. Even though I got a few silent blinks when I asked whether the page numbers were for the hard or paper-back versions, any reference to actual page numbers is nice. The second thing is that B&N sprang for an upgraded .PDF model than the Kindle. Per the B&N employee, the .PDF is text searchable. I’d like confirmation of that.)
The 2.3 update has made PDFs on the Kindle text searchable as well as long as it is a non-scanned PDF.

Quote:
There are also options to change the font that are not available on the Kindle without a hack and users can add their own screensavers which again are not available on the Kindle.
Love this!

Quote:
IMO, B&N did themselves a bit of disservice when they designed the navigation in terms of an eReader. You have to go through too many touches of the screen to get to a book, navigate thru books, get definitions and other things. Keep in mind that I am coming from a Kindle interface where I can open any one of the 10 books on my home page with one click, use my thumb to highlight as well as get any definitions. I imagine that traversing through the menus and options may not be as distracting when shopping as a user expects more interaction in that scenario. But up front, there are too many screens with too many options just to open one of the books in your list.
This was a concern to me when I saw the Engadget video. The LCD screen navigation may be too complicated for Seniors to deal with. I think I'm a little savvy, and I found myself getting confused. Maybe, it's because I'm used to the Kindle and a newbie to ebook readers won't have the same issue.

I'll probably head over the my local B&N later today to tomorrow to check it out myself.
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